New vocabulary aquisition activity

Based on our first few weeks of work, it seems that a somewhat better a activity can be devised than currently used by many of the online web services such as memrise, lingq, Pronunciator, utalk, etc. that we have been trying.

The problem with these is that we are often made to practice words that are already cognates or that are easy to learn in context.  Yet you don’t want the student to immediately fail with the word.  So the activity combines the features of multiple choice and typing so that if students know the word well they can move forward quickly.  Here is a description:

First exposure

The student will see the term (morpheme, word, phrase, etc) to be learned together with other available information about the term including it’s English meaning and as many of the possible as are available:  Esperanto definition, part of speech, sample sentence(s), cognates in other languages, mnemonic(s), audio, picture, etc.

Subsequent exposures

The student will see the definition and will be given a few seconds to type the word.  If they make an error or stop typing for a few seconds, 5 to 10 options will appear.  Every  few seconds an incorrect option will fade-out until only the correct choice remains.


  • The student is given the opportunity think up the term before given options.
  • The student can be given more credit if he/she knows can produce the word and hence can spend less time with it.
  • The student always finishes each question with the correct answer (and the chance to type it).
  • If a student is in a hurry, they can see all the terms from a lesson in less time than if they have to “plant” them or otherwise go through the initial learning process of other systems, yet they still have at least one chance to demonstrate the ability to produce or recognize the word.

vWorker Post

As I often do when working on a project of this nature, when I have a good idea of how a feature should work, i post a job on oDesk, vWorker, or other outsourcing site for a draft version of the feature to be developed.  Frequently the price of this work is less than $100 and I get ideas from the work that helps me better refine the product.  So, to get started, I have posted the following on the vWorker site to see if a skeleton of the project can be developed at a low cost:

This will be the start of a project for teaching vocabulary to students.  It should use jQuery (and jQuery-UI if desired), html5, css3 and JSON.
A list of 20 words in a .json file should have the word being learned, the definition, and the part of speech.
The student sees the first definition in the list and part of speech and is given 5 seconds to begin typing the correct word.  If he does not type anything or types an error, 8 of the terms in the json file will be given as list items with one of them being the correct answer.  Every 3 seconds that the student is not typing something correctly, one of the wrong buttons fades out until only the correct term is displayed.  When the correct answer is entered, the student can click a next button until all the words in the list have been covered.

Please include in your bid an estimate of the time you will need to present a working draft of this project.  Where will likely be followup jobs that I will hire you for as part of this project.


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